(Above) The Bishop of Salisbury presenting the 'Bishop's Prize' to St Nicholas Church in Arne © Tony Bates (below) St Peter’s Living Churchyard in Long Bredy, Dorset © Sharron Abbott (below) The Bishop of Salisbury signing the online petition © Tony Bates
Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) was delighted to welcome the Bishop of Salisbury, the Right Revd Nicholas Holtam, on Saturday 4th October, to award prizes at the annual Living Churchyards ceremony, celebrating churchyards in Dorset that have been managed for the benefit of wildlife.
The DWT Living Churchyard project started in 1993 and aims to encourage communities to get involved with the running of their local churchyards, which often have many wildlife habitats in need of proper conservation management.
Special 'Bishops Prize' awarded to St Nicholas in Arne, Wareham
Bishop Nicolas awarded the special ‘Bishops Prize’ to St Nicholas in Arne, Wareham, and awarded a variety of other parishes with gold, silver and bronze certificates for their efforts to create a haven for wildlife in their churchyards.
Churchyards are a rich resource around the country
Bishop Nicholas said, “This really is one of those projects when, although receiving an award is nice, what really matters is that people really get the bug about creating ‘wildlife friendly churchyards’. There are some wonderfully good examples now in urban as well as rural settings, some of which will not have taken part in this project. Churchyards are a rich resource right across the country. Something like 6,000 British churchyards are now run as ‘sacred eco-systems’ without pesticides and mowing at least some sections of the grass only once a year, ensuring that birds, reptiles, insects and bats can thrive.”
Living churchyards project protects many wildlife habitats
Chairman of DWT, Nigel Webb said, “This project protects many important wildlife habitats, including patches of woodland and gravestones with rare or unusual lichen species. Not only are these wonderful areas for wildlife, but also areas for people to spend time outside. We are very grateful to Bishop Nicholas for kindly donating the cash prize and supporting this project.”
The Bishop gave the key note speech in which he emphasised the importance of both local and global efforts to protect the natural environment, and how these two are linked, giving the Living Churchyards project as a good example of local action.
Bishop Nicholas signed an online global petition
After the Living Churchyard award ceremony at Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Headquarters near Dorchester, Bishop Nicholas also signed an online global petition demanding that climate change be an urgent item of business at the upcoming G20 Summit in Brisbane.
Find out how to get involved...
To find out how to take part in the Living Churchyard project, click here or phone 01305 264620 for more information.
Notes to Editor
Other churches awarded with certificates include:
St James Alderholt Gold
St Mary’s Beaminster Silver
St John the Baptist Bere Regis Silver
All Saints’ Branksome Park
St Clements Branksome/Poole Gold
St Mary the Virgin Bransgore
St Martins Broadmayne Gold
St Peter & St Paul Cattistock Silver
St Giles Chideock Silver
St Michael & All Angels Colehill Silver
St Nicholas Durweston
St John the Evangelist East Holme Bronze
St Andrew’s Fontmell Magna Gold
St Johns Holdenhurst, Bournemouth Bronze
St Catherine Holworth
St Mary’s Iwerne Minster Bronze
St Andrew’s Milborne St Andrew
St John the Baptist Moordown Gold
St Michael’s Owermoigne Gold
St Peters Parkstone Silver
St Mary’s Puddletown Bronze
St Thomas a Becket Pulham
St Mary’s Sixpenny Handley Silver
St Mark’s Talbot Village
St Michael’s and All Angels
Holy Trinity West Lulworth Bronze
The Minster Church of St Curthburga Wimborne Silver
Holy Road Wool and east Stoke Bronze
St Paul’s Wootton Fitzpaine
All Saints Church Wyke Regis
For more information please contact Sally Welbourn at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620.
Working for a secure future for Dorset’s wildlife enriching the quality of life
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Dorset Wildlife Trust works to champion wildlife and natural places, to engage and inspire people and to promote sustainable living. Founded in 1961, DWT is now the largest voluntary nature conservation organisation in Dorset, with over 25,000 members and over 40 nature reserves. Most are open daily and there are visitor centres providing a wealth of wildlife information at Brooklands Farm, Lorton Meadows, Kingcombe Meadows and Brownsea Island Nature Reserves, The Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve and the Urban Wildlife Centre at Upton Heath Nature Reserve. DWT plays a key role in dealing with local environmental issues and leads the way in establishing the practices of sustainable development and engaging new audiences in conservation, particularly in the urban areas.